Did you know that being creative can help teenagers be more confident, develop life skills and even perform better academically? In a ten-year national study by Stanford University researcher Shirley Brice Heath, she found that, compared to the national average, teens who were enrolled in arts programs were significantly more likely to feel satisfied with themselves, make plans and successfully work and to win an award for academic achievement. By encouraging and cultivating creativity in your teen, you can help them learn to better express themselves, find a positive outlet for their feelings and discover talents they may not know they have.
Designate a Space as a Creativity Zone
Find a spot in your home that you can designate as a creativity zone for your teen. It doesn’t have to be a whole room; it can be a spot in their bedroom or an area in the basement. The important thing is that your teen feels that they have power and control over their creative space to design or make whatever they desire.
Provide Your Teen With the Resources to Be Creative
Pay attention to how your teen expresses their creativity and make these materials and resources available to them. For example, if your teen enjoys writing songs, consider enrolling them in music lessons; if your teen shows an interest in fine arts, provide them with some drawing pencils. Teens are much more likely to pursue their creativity if they have access to the needed supplies and resources.
Go On Creative Outings
Take your teen to a concert, a play, a museum, an art exhibit or any other sort of performance or experience that aligns with their creative interests. Your teen may become inspired by seeing others use their creativity and talents in a professional setting.
Encourage Questioning and Creative Problem Solving
Encourage your teen to seek answers to any questions or problems they may have and give them the opportunity to express divergent (non-linear) thought. When helping your teen work through an issue, encourage them to find more than one route to a solution. Allow your teen to explore their own opinions and beliefs and let them realize that not everyone thinks in the same way. You can even come up with questions to discuss with your teen that will foster creative thinking, such as “are you more like a mountain or a valley? Why?” or “if you could change one thing to make the world a better place, what would it be?”
Practice Creativity Yourself
Find a creative outlet that you enjoy—such as baking, crocheting or painting—and lead by example. Your teen is always taking notice of what you’re doing so let them see that you take part in creative endeavors as well. By practicing your own creativity, you are cultivating an environment where creativity is encouraged in the home. You and your teen may even find you enjoy pursuing your creative passions together!
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